Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/141

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

of his father. He declared that he was for the establishment of an English interest in Ireland. All attempts to carry out his father's and his own engagements were abandoned. A commission was appointed consisting of thirty-six persons, all Protestants, and they proceeded to appoint from amongst their body a court of claims to hear cases and decide without a jury. Four thousand Catholics claimed to be restored to their former estates. About 600 claims were heard, and in the great majority of cases the claimants proved "innocency". A loud outcry arose from the Puritan and Protestant interest. The mutterings of an intended insurrection were heard. The anger and panic of the Cromwellians knew no bounds. A formidable plot was discovered. A small outbreak took place (Lord E. Fitzmaurice, "Life of Petty", p. 131). A new Bill of Settlement, or, as it was called, of Explanation, was then approved in England, and brought in and passed in Ireland (1665). It provided that the adventurers and soldiers should give up one-third of their grants under the Cromwellian settlement, to be applied for the purpose of increasing the fund for reprisals. Protestant adventurers and soldiers serving before 1649, and Protestant purchasers in Connaught or Clare before 1663, removable from restorable lands, were to receive, before the lands were restored, two-thirds equivalent in other lands. Protestant purchasers from transplanted persons in Connaught or Clare before 1 September, 1663, were confirmed in two-thirds of their purchase. Every clause in this and the preceding act was to be construed most liberally and beneficially for protecting and settling the estates and persons of Protestants, whom the Act was principally intended to settle and secure (§ 73). The clause in the first act, empowering the King to restore innocent Catholics to their houses within Corporations, was repealed (§ 221). The Anglican Church regained its estates, including its large revenue of tithes, and its hierarchy was replaced in its former position. Finally (and this is the most important and iniquitous provision in the Act) it was declared "that no person who by the qualifications of the former Act hath not been adjudged innocent, shall at any time hereafter be reputed innocent, so as to obtain any lands or tenements", etc. This excluded the whole body of the 4,000 innocent claimants, except the 600 already disposed of "without a trial from the inheritance of their fathers, an act of the grossest and most cruel injustice" (Lecky, I 115). After these acts the Protestants possessed, according to Petty, more than two-thirds of the good land, and of the Protestant landowners in 1689, according to Archbishop King, two-thirds held their estates under the Acts of Settlement and Explanation.

Act of Supremacy. See Supremacy.

Act, the Test. See Test.

Act, the Toleration. See England.

Acton, Charles Januarius, an English cardinal, born at Naples, 6 March, 1803; died at Naples, 23 June, 1847. He was the second son of Sir John Francis Acton, Bart. The family, a cadet branch of the Actons of Aldenham Hall, near Bridgnorth, in Shropshire, had settled in Naples some time before his birth. His father was engaged in the Neapolitan trade when he succeeded to the family estate and title through the death of his cousin, Sir Richard Acton, Bart. The Cardinal's education was English, as he and his elder brother were sent to England on their father's death in 1811, to a school near London kept by the Abbé Quéqué. They were then sent to Westminster School, with the understanding that their religion was not to be interfered with. Yet, they not only were sent to this Protestant school, but they had a Protestant clergyman as tutor. In 1819 they went to Magdalen College, Cambridge, where they finished their education. After this strange schooling for a future cardinal, Charles went to Rome when he was twenty and entered the Academia Ecclesiastica, where ecclesiastics intending to be candidates for public offices receive a special training. An essay of his attracted the attention of the Secretary of State, della Somaglia, and Leo XII made him a chamberlain and attaché to the Paris Nunciature, where he had the best opportunity to become acquainted with diplomacy. Pius VIII recalled him and named him vice-legate, granting him choice of any of the four legations over which cardinals presided. He chose Bologna, as affording most opportunity for improvement. He left there at the close of Pius VIII's brief pontificate, and went to England, in 1829, to marry his sister to Sir Richard Throckmorton. Gregory XVI made him assistant judge in the Civil Court of Rome. In 1837 he was made Auditor to the Apostolic Chamber, the highest Roman dignity after the cardinalate. Probably this was the first time it was even offered to a foreigner. Acton declined it, but was commanded to retain it. He was proclaimed Cardinal-Priest, with the title of Santa Maria della Pace, in 1842; having been created nearly three years previously. His strength, never very great, began to decline, and a severe attack of ague made him seek rest and recuperation, first at Palermo and then at Naples. But without avail, for he died in the latter city. His sterling worth was little known through his modesty and humility. In his youth his musical talent and genial wit supplied much innocent gaiety, but the pressure of serious responsibilities and the adoption of a spiritual life somewhat subdued its exercise.

His judgment and legal ability were such that advocates of the first rank said that could they know his view of a case they could tell how it would be decided. When he communicated anything in writing, Pope Gregory used to say he never had occasion to read it more than once. He was selected as interpreter in the interview which the Pope had with the Czar of Russia. The Cardinal never said anything about this except that when he had interpreted the Pope's first sentence the Czar said: "It will be agreeable to me, if your Eminence will act as my interpreter, also." After the conference Cardinal Acton, by request of the Pope, wrote out a minute account of it; but he never permitted it to be seen. The King of Naples urged him earnestly to become Archbishop of Naples, but he inexorably refused. His charities were unbounded. He once wrote from Naples that he actually tasted the distress which he sought to solace. He may be said to have departed this life in all the wealth of a willing poverty.

Gillow, Dict. Eng. Cath., I 3–6; Wiseman, Recollections of the Last Four Popes, (London, 1858).

Acton, John, a English canonist, after 1329 canon of Lincoln; d. 1350. His name is spelled variously, Achedune, de Athona, Aton, Eaton; Maitland and Stubbs write Ayton. He was a pupil of John Stratford (afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury), and is declared by Maitland (p. 98) to be "one of the three English canonists who after the earliest years of the thirteenth century wrote books that met with any success". He is best known as a glossator of the legatine "Constitutions" of Cardinals Otho and Ottobone, papal legates to Eng-